Efficiency and Renewables
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Date: 1/1/94    Record No.: 10050
Contact: George Courville, 615-574-1945; Jeff Christian, 615-574-9338

Efficiency and Renewables
"Building Technology Center" is a "User Facility", and has the recently consolidated activities related to buildings. There are major test facilities for heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, insulation and building materials. They also do performance analysis for Program Evaluation projects, and have a strong role in ASHRAE and ASTM standards, tests and procedures committees.

There are several technology developments also:
- Powder Evacuated Panels (PEP) insulates 5 times better than conventional insulation, or >R25 per inch. (It's similar in structure to a package of vacuum-packed coffee.) GE and Corning are vigorously pursuing applications, and ORNL's role is on process and measurement improvements.
- Gas adsorption A/C--ORNL has basic patents on "triple adsorption," licensed to Trane.
- Improvement for auto and window A/C--permitted 20% improvement in performance by overcharging the system while avoiding the "slugging" problem that usually results. It's basically an liquid overfeed system, a separator/accumulator that keeps the liquid refrigerant from entering the compressor.
- High efficiency building block--a new geometry that reduces the front-to-back thermal bridging and amount of mortar that's needed.
- Handbooks for Builders on building envelope, foundations, etc.